Utilising QR

August 8, 2011

The global retailer Tesco is the third largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second largest measured by profits but it is perhaps the first really embrace and utilise the power of mobile marketing and in particular QR (Quick Response) codes.

Tesco or Home Plus as its known in the Korean market, faced the challenge of increasing market share and prominence without actually increasing the number of stores. Research showed that the Korean consumer saw shopping as more of a burden with many consumers struggling to find the time in their busy work-centric days to shop. Tesco (Home Plus) decided that the solution would be to bring the store directly to them at a convenient location that didn’t interfere with the working day  – the result: a virtual subway store.

This involves putting up images of real supermarket shelves where display advertising would normally be. Underneath each item is a QR code (embedded in a Tesco app) presumably when scanned, instantly put the item in to online shopping cart, ready for home delivery. Simple!

This isn’t the first time Tesco have utilised the power of QR codes for their campaigns. Last autumn Tesco had QR Coded print ads  for “Call of Duty – Black Ops”. The code linked through to the Tesco entertainment website where visitors could pre-order the game ahead of it’s release.

There are other signs that QR codes are being widely used and helping to integrate offline and online.

Cellar Key Wines feature QR codes on their bottles linking through to a video tour of a winery, view recommendations and explore food pairings. This is a great way of differentiating their product and adding value for the customer.

Calvin Klein put up giant QR codes with the slogan ‘Get it Uncensored’ in Times Square and other prominent places in Manhattan. After scanning the code people received a raunchy ‘uncut’ jeans commercial on their smartphone which they could then share on Facebook or Twitter.

Pepsi featured QR codes on their Pepsi Max cans directing customers to their website to download games, ringtones and wallpapers.

Lacoste also used QR codes in their store windows in support of the ATP World Tennis tour. The QR code linked through to a Lacoste Championship version of the classic arcade tennis game. After the game players could also sign up to receive a 15% store discount.

Perhaps my favourite application of QR is Leo Burnetts’  “Hidden Sound” campaign promoting 14 indie bands for Zoo Records, an alternative music store in Hong Kong.

The QR Codes were assembled into the shapes of animals that live hidden in the city and posted all over the streets of Hong Kong. Scanning the codes in the animals allowed users to read more information about a band, hear their music, purchase their songs as well as share them on social media platforms.

Check it out here;

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